The draw for the quarterfinals of the FA Cup will take place this evening after Chelsea’s trip to Middlesbrough for their fifth-round tie. Should the Blues edge past Boro, they will face United.
As the holders, Chelsea will be firm favourites but United’s strong resurgence this season means they still chase a treble.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted his whole squad will play a part in the chase for the treble this season.
“The players sense it could be a big year for them,” the boss told MUTV.
“But at this club, in this situation, anything can happen on the run-in. Players can all of a sudden find themselves playing in a final or an important league game because that is the kind of squad I have.”
The boss also revealed, as quoted in today’s The Sun, that he finds it hard to rotate his players in and out of the first team.
“It is very difficult to rotate the squad at the moment. They all wanted to play against Real Madrid and there were a lot of disappointed players. That was fantastic. It is a measure of their own confidence in themselves,” revealed the Scot.
He is however intending to use United’s home advantage in their upcoming fixtures this March.
“We’re hopeful that we can take full advantage of this spell,” he explained.
"I must say, the one thing that is going to help us [in this period] is that the pitch has improved a tremendous amount.”
Meanwhile, top scorer Robin van Persie revealed his admiration for his manager. In an interview with Inside United, the Dutchman said,
"Sir Alex came in and knew he needed to win trophies. It took him a bit of time but, thankfully, he remains in the post today after 26 years and has had phenomenal success. It is all down to what he instilled, well reintroduced [from Sir Matt Busby], in the building at that particular time and from then on.”
He showed clear and comprehensive understanding of the club’s history and philosophy, continuing:
"It's a club synonymous with success in a style that is fantastic to watch. It's intriguing at times and nailbiting. The way they go about their business is fantastic in the way they play and grind teams down.”
Ferguson’s potential next ace could be Jeffrey Schlupp who The Mirror asserts today could be the next big thing at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere, United's Champions League opponents Real Madrid were clinical to beat Barcelona 3-1 last night in the second leg of their El Clasico Copa del Rey semi-final.
Madrid and former United star Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to see off the Catalan giants in what The Independent is calling a ‘warning’ to United ahead of their trip to Old Trafford next week.
Meanwhile, Juventus veteran Andrea Pirlo has admitted that United are the team he fears most in the next round. The Italian maestro told The Sun,
“They have champions all over the place, while we don’t. This is just the beginning for us.”
In transfer news, The Metro claims that United and Arsenal ‘target’ Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s agent has revealed he wants to play on ‘a bigger stage’.
“Our ambition is for Simon to play somewhere that he can engage in competition with Thibaut Courtois for the place in goal for Belgium,” revealed Guy Vandersmissen.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that Paris Saint-Germain intend to make a £40 million bid for United striker Wayne Rooney this summer to test United’s resolve to keep the Englishman.
However, moving in the opposite direction could be United ‘target’ Marco Verratti who, according to The Express, PSG have attached a £34 million price-tag to for potential suitors.
In other news, United’s 2013/14 away shirt was leaked online and an image is available here.
image: © Doha Stadium Plus